NASA will hunt for alien life on Jupiter moon Europa

NASA's Science Definition Team (SDT) has revealed that a Europa Lander, which is presently under development, is likely to be launched with the Space Launch System by the early 2020s to investigate Europa during a flyby mission. "The highest-level science goal of the mission presented here is to search for evidence of life on Europa".

Is it possible that NASA's Europa mission yield signs of extraterrestrial life?

Ultimately, other than Saturn's moon Enceladus, Europa is one of only two places where the ocean is understood to be in contact with a rocky sea floor which also makes scientists to be more convinced than before that it is one of the highest priority targets in the search for present-day life beyond Earth.

Long before any NASA mission has liftoff, the agency commissions research to determine how feasible and useful a particular effort would be.

The Nasa report goes on: "This mission would significantly advance our understanding of Europa as an ocean world, even in the absence of any definitive signs of life and would provide the foundation for the future robotic exploration of Europa". The agency is now studying the best ways to make this happen; the new SDT report is part of that process.

Scientists are trying to build a sky crane system because the lack of atmosphere will mean that the Europa lander can not be lowered using parachutes.




Nasa has laid out a report to send a probe to Jupiter's Europa. This mission is said to play an important part in the lander mission, as it will "scout out plumes or cracks" where water and other subterranean materials from the moon may escape. Then, they will collect data which will help them in the preparation for an actual landing on the icy moon of Jupiter.

The Europan radiation environment would likely limit the CRO's lifetime to about 30 days, according to the SDT team's report, "thus making a longer-lived lander mission hard to justify".

One of those future missions could eventually drill right down to the moon's underground ocean, thought to be at least 19 kilometres (11.8 miles) below the surface.

The lander would be quite busy during its brief operational life, as its proposed instrument payload indicates.

There are over 21 scientists that NASA asked past year to build and conceptualize the lander that destined to land and programmed to Europa.

"Along with the analytical suite for detailed analyses of samples, the Europa Lander model payload also includes a pair of color stereo imagers for examining the landing site in 3D (including capabilities for characterizing surface composition), and a seismic package for determining Europa's ice shell and ocean thickness through acoustic monitoring of cracking events in the ice shell", the SDT report states. They are trying to make the entire scientific community aware of the importance of such a mission.

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